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Cervical screening

Cervical screening (smear test) is a free health test that helps prevent cervical cancer. Along with the HPV vaccine, cervical screening is the best way to protect against cervical cancer and prevents over 7 in 10 diagnoses.

It can be done by the practice nurse at your GP surgery and takes a few minutes. Cervical screening checks for a virus called high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and, if you have HPV, cervical cell changes (abnormal cells).

Who is invited for cervical screening?

You should be invited for cervical screening if you have a cervix. Women are usually born with a cervix. Trans men, non-binary and intersex people may also have one.

In the UK, you are automatically invited for cervical screening if you are:

  • between the ages of 25 to 64
  • registered as female with a GP surgery.

You may get your first invite up to 6 months before you turn 25. You can book an appointment as soon as you get the invite.

How often will I be invited for cervical screening?

Your cervical screening result will help decide when you are next invited for cervical screening.

You may be invited:

  • every year
  • every 3 years
  • every 5 years
  • straight to colposcopy for more tests.

To find out more about cervical screening please click What is Cervical Screening (Smear Test)? | Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (

Once you have received your invitation, you can book your smear test with your practice nurse. You can also book an appointment if you are overdue your smear test. If you are unsure whether you need a smear test please read the above and/or discuss with your practice nurse.

Please note: this information has been sourced and adapted from Jo’s Trust.

Content provided by Liverpool City Council Public Health.

Published on Mon, 23 Jan 2023 10:24:27 GMT
Modified on Fri, 17 Feb 2023 14:47:56 GMT